Monday, January 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Creme Brulee

Or if you prefer, Pudding!

Jeanne @ The Raisin Chronicles requested I develop an easy recipe because her husband adores peanut butter, and so does mine!

With hubby traveling the past three months, I have lost some desire to put much effort into fancy desserts. Creme Brulee can be daunting cooking all those eggs over a hot bath. All this snow, I want the hot bath!

One weekend I whipped up some ganache style pudding made with dark chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chips, heavy cream and orange zest. Poured it into a pan over nuts for some candy like dessert, and cooled it. When we sliced into it, well, it was like pudding (because I added too much cream); it did not set up. Very yummy, but it gave me an idea to alter my peanut butter pudding recipe for Jeanne.

I am not that fond of PB, but I have to say this recipe rocks. White chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, peanut butter, and heavy cream cooked over a water bath with egg yolks then blended smoothly together with rest of ingredients and chilled. Very rich too, so small portions. Hubby loved this. He loved them all, but this I have to say was far the easiest and tasted the same. Rich and creamy from the heavy cream too. Adding sugar on top and firing up your blow torch, you can still give it a creme brulee presentation to dazzle guests.

I have only three ramekins left, so I put the fourth portion into this vintage goblet. You could make six 1/2 cup sizes for portion control. Did I say rich?

Oh and I am delayed in getting to some of your blogs, maybe because of the snow every week, but also because I have been busy writing and with my new job with the gourmet food company. I will be there eventually...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sweet Potato Gnocchi Carbonara?

How can this be? Well I did not know what else to call it. Poetic License, creative license, who knows.

Traditional Italian Carbonara is tossed with eggs, cream, butter, Parmesan cheese and bacon, all in one smooth, creamy concoction over steaming fettuccine. So I changed a few things, and it was great with the horticot verts (cooked in veggie broth, onions, and garlic).

I traded bacon with prosciutto, added sun dried tomatoes, and used almond milk over cream (less calories), and made it gluten free with making sweet potato gnocchi (trade roasted sweet potatoes for regular in gnocchi recipe). I almost felt like we were eating loaded baked sweet potatoes, which I did bake them before making the gnocchi.

There has been a lot of baking going on in my kitchen the past few days. Gluten Free onion and cheese bread (slice on side of above plate) and black walnut and date bread with maple syrup glaze (Mary @ The Perfect Bite altered recipe). Since I did not give my neighbors or friends goodies, and was gone to MO, I decided to make them some after the holiday treats.

Hubby brings home bags of dates from Dateland, AZ when he goes to the base, so I decided to use them in some baking.We love these fresh dates!

I have been recovering from some oral surgery, busy with my book writing, and I owe Jeanne @ The Raisin Chronicles her peanut butter post, so that is coming up next!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rib Roast/Prime Rib- New Year Day Finale

For a reason I cannot explain, I have never cooked a Prime Rib Roast on my own. So, there was a quest for the perfect New Years Day topper, and it would be Prime Rib.

I called on Nibble Me This and his 'Fire Roasted Beef Rib Roast' tips for some help. The Prime Rib called for more than just an oven baking, but screamed for a crusty smokey exterior and juicy interior.

Between Chris, his tips, and some research, the roast called for some indirect heat on my charcoal grill. I have smoked and grilled many times, so it made sense it would impart more flavor over the oven source. Packing up hard wood coals and Cabernet barrel wood chips (soaked in water) into a foil barricade that would sit to the left of the meat for indirect cooking (slow cooking-keeping the fire from being too close and over cooking the meat).

Following closely and using the Mississippi method for temperature control, I cooked the Rib Roast for almost two hours. The roast was approximate four and half pounds with the bones (two ribs) in place.  The interior was medium - medium rare, from outside in.

Our menu was- Collard greens and black-eyed peas, Mushrooms with horseradish cream and potatoes, and Prime Rib.

I agree with Chris, the 'Dino Ribs' were lip smacking good! ...and went with the mushroom horseradish cream and black eyed pea-collard green cooked in apple cider sides...did I say lip smackin; good?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blackened Grilled Swordfish- NYE Entree

To be honest we were so full by the time the swordfish was done, and New Year's Eve still held dessert and midnight, but somehow we all managed to eat every bite. Good thing it was light. A bit summery with the pineapple and blackening seasoning- I went easy on the seasoning I got from a grill chef friend of mine, along with olive oil and a squeeze of Meyer lemon; it was summery. I admitted it was a fiery rub. I knew a few of my light weight 'spicy' eating friends would die if I made it too hot, so light all the way was the theme here.

Three and a half minutes on each side lead to a juicy perfection. One thing I cannot stand is dry and over cooked swordfish. If you buy them with some of the flesh/skin still on, no worries, because it comes right off after cooking. These were not frozen, this day's catch. The skin is rubbery to eat though, so just remove it after cooking; it does help keep the steak moist.

The summery garnish you see is simply pineapple, blueberries (not in season, but we still buy shipped in brands, and eat them with cereal), scallions, grape tomatoes, cleaned and seeded jalapeno, garlic, and Meyer lemon juice. Chop, mix, and stir occasionally- at least three hours before cooking to meld flavors.

Chris over at Nibble Me This and I laughed at how hard core we are about grilling all year long, and in the dead of winter. I made hubby go out and clean the snow off the grill, and clean it out for me- I also told him that it would be used the next day for our New Year's Day meal, and his appetite obliged. Wait till you see what Chris schooled me in for the next day's meal!

When my son and I first moved to the NE five years ago, the neighbors all keep their grills covered during the winter, while mine gets used at least five times before spring. We got lots of strange looks, before they built our separating walls. I grew up with my father grilling all year long.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lobster Bisque Meets Farro & Poblano

Seems like I should learn to go back to leaving the stems on the pepper for a nicer presentation right?

In order to do that you have to roast the outside of the peppers, then steam them in a plastic bag; remove the skins, and then stuff away.

Well, its so much easier to fill them with the filling and placing lobster tail pieces this way...

The last time I made stuffed peppers, I used what they call Italian peppers here in New Jersey, and stuffed them with slow cooked short rib meat, cheese, and pumpkin seeds. This time I used a quick version of lobster bisque cooked Farro. Absolutely Yummy! Another keeper recipe for my house.

Cut the lobster tails (this past year they have been only $5 dollars for four ounce tails, and simply enough per person for a dinner party, or casual eating) down the center underneath, and break open (gently, not to tear meat). Gently remove the tail meat and put aside. Just like a bisque recipe (my own as follows) calls for sauteed green onions, shallots in butter and oil mixture, then add shells for a few minutes; add vegetable or fish broth (will make broth from tails).

Then add Farro, pepper top pieces, garlic cloves (will soften while cooking), chopped sun dried tomatoes, and any other thing you might want to add. Normally you strain a 'real' bisque, but  this is a rustic version and will stuff a pepper, so no worries. Cook Farro about half stove top time; it will finish cooking in the oven when covered with foil (basically steams). Oh and remove tails, they have leached their goodness into filling mixture already, and shake off any bits. Don't forget the calorie maker, heavy cream.

Take lobster tails and cut into two pieces, long way. Press one piece down into pepper, and fill rest of the way with Farro bisque mixture. Lay them into pan, and cover with left over mixture. Cover baking dish with foil and cook in pre-heated oven, 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Poblano peppers will soften (Italian and Anaheim's did not, Poblano you could not tell I left them on), even with skin they are perfection! A bit of heat still remains with veins and seeds removed, but the buttery Farro and lobster flavor is divine...oh divine...and we still have two more courses from New Years remaining...a break was needed for the guests.

Add a bit of more heavy cream if you like, but there is some left in the pan; it makes it extra buttery. Did I say this was by far my favorite stuffed pepper yet! Not sure how I can top this one...